As the end of the year approaches, it is time to prepare your self-storage facility for winter weather. Winter storms can result in property loss that could threaten the livelihood of a business, and they carry the risk of personal injury due to slip-and-fall events and create exposures related to extreme temperatures. Planning ahead for winter weather by following good risk management practices can help to minimize the risk of costly claims and damage to your self-storage facility.
Slips And Falls
Slip-and-fall claims tend to increase during winter months and can be extremely costly if negligence is determined. This type of claim can also impact your public image. However, slip-and-fall claims can be mitigated through regular removal of snow and ice as well as rigorous daily inspections. The MiniCo Safety Shorts video series includes a video entitled “Preventing Slips, Trips And Falls,” which provides detailed information for self-storage operators. The video is available at www.minico.com/safetyvideos.
Snow-and-Ice Removal Contracts
Consider contracting with a reputable, insured and licensed snow-and-ice removal company. These companies contract with businesses to remove snow and ice from walkways, driveways, aisles, stairways, and rooftops as outlined in the terms and conditions of a written contract, for example, whenever at least two inches of snow have accumulated.
During the winter months, you may wish to increase the frequency of your regular property inspections to identify potential hazards as quickly as possible. It is advisable to inspect the premises multiple times each day as weather conditions may change suddenly. Use safety cones or other devices and warning signage to alert customers and staff to potentially hazardous conditions such as construction materials covered by snow. In addition, spread salt/sand on icy spots and take action as needed to prevent frozen pipes.
Communicate With Customers
Take advantage of opportunities to remind customers about safety concerns such as the dangers of using candles or space heaters inside storage units. Create a safety bulletin to include with invoices and other mailings to your customers.
As we enter into the winter season, it is an excellent time to review your business insurance policy to ensure that you have adequate protection against liability exposures and potential property damage caused by winter weather events. In particular, consider systems protection coverage, which provides protection against certain damages to your central heating systems, gates, computers and other systems throughout your facility and could provide coverage for mechanical breakdown as a result of harsh winter exposure and other causes.
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